As members of Goodluck Jonathan’s inner circle continue the celebration of their victory at the presidential polls, evidence is emerging that through his Facebook fan page the team is actively promoting intolerance as well a blackmail and intimidation as prominent weapons.
The page is managed by Reno Omokri (VP Africa of Trippi and Associates), and Oronto Douglas, Jonathan's Senior Special Assistant on Strategy.
Egghead Odewale, a blogger who contributed an article regarding Mr. Goodluck Jonathan on his Facebook page last week asking him to fulfill his campaign promises, has already received a death threat this morning from Osuji Uchechi, one of Mr. Jonathan's Facebook fans.
Odewale had written an article titled, "Why the P in RSVP should be sustained - Holding GEJ to his promises!!!" on his personal Facebook page.
He then tagged President Goodluck Jonathan's page, but what Odewale received from Abuja-based Osuji Uchechi a few hours ago was a threat to his life, as follows:
"AS UR NAME IMPLIES EGGHEAD, D ONLY TIN IN AN EGG IS CHICKEN N CHICKEN HAS A LIGHT BRAIN. IT DOESN'T LISTEN UNTIL IT FINDS IT SELF IN D POT OF STEW. WE KNOW U N WE HV UR CONTACTS, D NEXT TIME U WILL POST DIS RUBBISH ABOUT GEJ, I SWEAR U WONT BE ALIVE WHEN D PUBLIC WILL READ IT. U STUPID MUSLIM, HV U FORGOTTEN THAT UR BROTHERS RULED THIS COUNTRY 4 OVER 40 YRS N DEY CUD NT ACHIEVE ANYTIN N ONLY IN 1YR, GEJ HAS ACHIEVED THIS MUCH. WE KNW PPL R USING U N D SAME PPL R D ONES FERMENTING TROUBLE IN D NORTH N I PROMISE U BY D TIME U JOIN UR ANCESTORS NOBODY WILL ACCEPT D JOB OF POSTING THESE UNGUARDED WRITE-UPS ON FACEBOOK. BE WARNED N SAVE UR LIFE." ~Osuji Uchechi
Since the presidential elections and the crisis that followed, supporters of Mr. Goodluck have engaged in the harassment of Facebook, twitters, Blackberry messengers (BBM) users and individuals who have disagreed with the outcome of the elections by drawing attention to the irregularities in the elections. SaharaReporters has also been targeted with a series of attacks.
In the post-election period, there has also been a huge spike in the volume of new commentators who use fake names to make repeated attacks on our stories, writers and other users, evidence of premeditated and organized assault. “SaharaReporters is now considered to be the only problem this administration has left,” a top Abuja insider told us at the weekend.
Last week in Washington DC, at the Atlantic Council, Reno Omokri, one of Jonathan's high-priced strategists tried to blame the post election crisis on SaharaReporters. Media such as the BBC Hausa Service were similarly targeted in a smear campaign.
But the most disturbing post-election development concerns the games that the Jonathan government is playing with the identity of the National Youth Service Corps members who died in last week’s rampage. The names are being selectively released by Mr. Jonathan's Facebook operators with the aim of causing further division amongst young Nigerians. While INEC officials today told SaharaReporters they do not have the total number, names and origins of the college graduate murdered in last week post election crisis available, some key Jonathan Facebook operators have such names and are freely using them, even providing grisly photos of one of a corper who was burnt to death.
Kayode Idowu, spokesperson to INEC chairman, Attahiru Jega, told our reporters that apart from the numbers released by the Bauchi state police command which put the number of dead youth corpers at 11, INEC does not have any information regarding ad-hoc staffers killed in the recent post election crisis. He stated that the agency relies on the directorate (NYSC) to provide INEC with such list as soon as they concluded their tallies of affected corp members.
However, what must be a very painful experience to the families who lost loved ones, came when the Director-General of the NYSC, Brig.-Gen. Maharazu Tsiga, told journalists through a reported monitored in today’s Guardian newspaper that to the best of his knowledge there were no NYSC deaths in the post-election crisis. At the weekend in Abuja, where he was attending his daughter’s wedding, he said the NYSC was undertaking a head-count of all corps members in the affected areas in order to ascertain the number of victims in the crisis.
"I am celebrating my daughter today with mixed feelings because I have my youth corps members in all parts of this country who were involved in the post-election crisis and some of them may have lost their lives, though we are yet to confirm the numbers which shall be made public immediately we finish the head-count of our members," he said.
He said NYSC members working in the on-going elections in crisis-ridden areas would be escorted to their respective duty posts in the remaining elections by soldiers.
Apart from some Jonathan’s facebook fans, some fanatical members of the Congress For Progress Change (CPC) have engaged in using twitter and other social media platforms to post egregious messages of hate as well, in particular , a twitter handle #abuabdallah92 has relentlessly passed threats of mayhem to other users.